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Refactoring Applications for Cloud Migration: What, How, Pros and Cons

There are many ways to go about migrating your applications to the cloud. One of these methods is to completely refactor your applications for the specific cloud vendor you are moving the applications to. In this post, we’ll explain what application refactoring for the cloud is, what the benefits and limitations are, when you should choose to refactor, and what the best practices are.

What Does It Mean to Refactor an Application for the Cloud?

“[Refactoring is] the process of changing a software system in such a way that it does not alter the external behavior of the code yet improves its internal structure.”

Martin Fowler, author of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code

Basically, refactoring applications for the cloud is a modern way of saying that you need to rewrite your applications for the specific cloud environment you plan to use. The cloud vendors encourage you to refactor your applications to be cloud-native so that you can maximize efficiency and native-cloud performance, as well as the ability to leverage all of the cool feature functionalities that the vendor offers.

In fact, if we’re talking about migrating one of your mission-critical, core applications to the cloud, refactoring is probably your best bet.

The Benefits of Refactoring Applications for the Cloud

By successfully refactoring your applications for your chosen cloud environment, making them truly cloud-native, you can ensure that you are able to fully reap the benefits that enticed you to move your application to the cloud in the first place. By refactoring for the cloud, you can also limit the chances that something in your applications doesn’t negatively interact with the cloud and “break” after go-live – an event that is sure to have your end-users losing confidence in the cloud migration project.

The Limitations of Refactoring Applications for the Cloud

Did a warning bell go off in your head when I said that refactoring is a fancy way of saying “rewrite your applications”? Then you’re not alone. Refactoring applications for the cloud is no easy feat. And depending on how complex your application is, it can take years to successfully work through the refactoring process – all while ensuring that you’re keeping all the rich features and high user experience that your end users and customers have come to expect.

On top of this, the cost, risk, and chance of the refactoring project ending as a failure are extremely high. It’s not too dramatic to say that the success or failure of refactoring an application for the cloud can make or break a career – given the time, resources, brain power, manpower, and money that have gone into the project.

Ok… so you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided that you’re going to take the plunge and refactor your apps. But there’s one last limitation of refactoring that we haven’t talked about yet: vendor lock-in.

Once you’ve gone through the time-consuming, money-sucking, risky process of refactoring your application for one particular cloud vendor, you’re basically wed to them until you decide to take the plunge (again) and refactor your applications (again!) out of the cloud environment and into another (or back to on-prem, your choice!). So if your cloud vendor of choice raises their prices or isn’t able to keep up with your changing requirements, you might find yourself explaining to your boss why “getting out of AWS” isn’t as simple as it seems. Oops!

With all that being said, refactoring really is the best long-term option when it comes to migrating your mission-critical applications to the cloud. If you have older applications that you anticipate that you’ll be retiring over the next few years, however, a lift and shift move to the cloud would be a more appropriate option.

How to Successfully Refactor Applications for the Cloud

As I said, refactoring applications to the public cloud can be both risky and time-consuming. But there are a few options to mitigate the risk and time involved.

While you are going through the refactoring process, you can leverage containers to get the key components of the application into the cloud faster. Containers encapsulate only the runtime code required by the application. You can self-execute without maintaining the overhead of running the whole environment in the cloud yet. And if you need additional features from the complete application, you can access them through a shared common library.

Another way to quickly and easily move a complex application to the cloud as a stopgap while you go through the refactoring process is to move your application onto a cloud platform that decouples applications from the underlying infrastructure. By doing this, you can migrate applications from on-premises to the cloud, or from one cloud to the other.

We’re Silk!

And that’s exactly what we do. The Silk platform makes it easier to migrate applications to the cloud without worrying that the applications won’t integrate with the cloud environment or that your refactoring process will fail.

The Silk platform offers rich, Tier 1 data services such as zero-footprint clones, data reduction, deduplication, and thin provisioning. These data services help to minimize the amount of cloud resources being used – in turn, helping to keep your cloud costs under control – and are not available in native cloud alone. Silk also offers 10 times faster performance than the major cloud vendors can over. And because we’ve done away with the capacity-for-performance pricing model, you don’t have to buy a whole bunch of cloud resources just to get the high level of performance that your mission-critical applications demand. Silk works with all types of applications and databases on all of the major public cloud vendors.

So when it comes to refactoring your applications for the cloud, you can have your cake and eat it too. With Silk you can quickly migrate your applications to the cloud, mitigate the risks of refactoring, and get the high level of performance you need at a price that won’t blow your budget.

Click here to learn more about what Silk can do for you as you look to migrate to the cloud.